Tag Archives: Fun Savvy

Birding and BBQ, Perfect

Bates Birding hobby Jan 2015

Birding has been a hobby I have enjoyed since my late teens.  I thought that leaving our countryside home in 2007 to move into a dense city neighborhood would mean leaving frequent bird sightings behind, but I’m happy to say there are many birds here and I have even seen new varieties to add to my life list.  For instance, this winter I have seen a Golden Crowned Kinglet two different times near my bird feeder. I’m still waiting for a Rose-breasted Grosbeak to visit our yard, however.

For those wanting to see many bird varieties including the migratory 4’ tall Sandhill Cranes, and other birds whose habitat is in or near the water, I recommend going to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Just an hour and forty five minutes down I-65, in Decatur, AL,  I’ve been told it has better viewing than the Soddy Daisy, TN site, and it’s a half hour closer.  I went to Wheeler on January 10th of this year and was thrilled to also see a pair of Whooping Cranes.  Most cranes are gone by mid-March, but with so many other birds to see, I think it would be a good place to visit at any time.  There is a good visitor center and an indoor viewing room where you can be out of the elements when needed.  It has walls of glass, a microphone mounted outside bringing the bird sounds in, and bleachers to sit on to enjoy the view.  We had a special treat as we watched a pair of bobcats on the far shore through a scope, soaking up the winter sun, playing and grooming.  Wheeler has walking trails and if you like to check out the local flavor, go into town about 3 miles and visit Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Restaurant.  BBQ is my favorite food group and they did not disappoint with an extensive menu of sides as well.  For dessert they have delicious lemon meringue pie, among other sweets.

I’d love to hear what you are seeing at your feeder.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development. Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, she appreciates that the legacy of the 3rd generation business was begun in 1932 at the height of the depression by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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Photo:  Sandhill Cranes,

US Fish and Wildlife Service

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Considering George Washington

George Washington

At Presidents Day for 2015, radio host Barbara Dab interviewed attorney and historian Norma Shirk.  Enjoy!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website at http://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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The Nashville Foodie Nation: Business Edition

Pasta and Garlic Bread

With so many outstanding restaurants in Nashville, sometimes we are stumped by the question “Where should we go?”

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I want quality of taste and interest along with ambiance. And, when it’s a business meal, add to that the need to tailor the experience. The venue I choose will set the stage, whether it’s for a quiet, in-depth conversation, a meet-and-greet with the gang, an out-of-the-way deal-making venture or a quick connect to download information.

No matter your professional need, Nashville’s foodie nation has a wealth of options. So many that I’ve pulled together my short list of go-to’s. There’s always the standard Jimmy Kelly’s for dinner, J. Alexander’s for lunch, Starbuck’s for coffee. But here are a few others you should try on for size.

For an unhurried lunch out of the downtown fray, it’s The Mad Platter in Germantown. My long legs ache for better chairs, but the pasta dish is a long-time favorite and their soups satisfy.

Husk is a must to show off your foodie-ness. Avoid lunching on warm days, though; the sun through the windows is toasty and will distract you from the burger and fries. The burger doesn’t just have bacon on top; the salty goodness is ground into the meat. Inspired.

Etch is my all-time personal favorite for an important lunch or dinner. If you want to impress with innovation, Deb Paquette’s layers of flavor and innovative ingredients never disappoint. Lunch service lately has been unusually slow; yet even that won’t dissuade my visits. Always start with the roasted cauliflower to share. Your guests will thank you. Take time to savor your experience and you’ll be back often.

If you want to see and be seen, I recommend Bricktop’s on West End every time. Full and boisterous, this won’t be where you have an intimate conversation. This is the place to people-watch, surreptitiously of course. The gazpacho is my favorite thing about the return of warm-weather menus.

Head to The Palm for quiet talk. Its impeccable service lets you focus on building that business relationship. It’s great for folks visiting as well, and you’re in the heart of the downtown scene if you want to go somewhere else for drinks and music.

Midtown Café is not someplace I go regularly, but colleagues swear it’s a business-lunch experience that consistently achieves the right balance. It’s always full, so they must be right.

Noshville Midtown is the place for breakfast, especially if there’s a government bigwig you want to run into. During legislative session, the booths are packed with elected officials filling up on bagels, pancakes and the best oatmeal around.

For coffee, I’d bypass the chains for CREMA on Hermitage. It’s a bit rustic in décor, but the drinks and friendly staff and patrons make it a comfortable spot for a quick connect or leisurely conversation to catch up.

Finally, for LA-trendy, hop over to Pinewood Social in the Trolley Barns. It offers at least four different experiences: couches for web-surfing, coffee-drinking casual, a bar where single diners congregate and network, booths for those wanting to eat and meet, and even a fully served bowling alley. You have to experience it to believe that, yes, bowling can serve as a great business-meal setting.

What are your favorites? HerSavvy would love to know!

Get out and discover Nashville, people. There’s a lot out there to enjoy!

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways http://www.ttlusa.com can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

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Frankenstein’s Mother


Mary Wollstonecraft was an unusual woman. She left home at the age of 19 to escape her bullying father and his many failed business ventures.  She worked as a school teacher and a governess before settling on a writing career.

Wollstonecraft’s political writings focused on the hot topic of the day, the French Revolution. She was a “republican” supporting the ideals of the French Revolution. In 1790 she became the first intellectual to challenge Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution when she published Vindication of the Rights of Man. Most intellectuals, however, sided with the conservative Burke as news spread of the violent Reign of Terror.

Wollstonecraft’s social writings also diverged from the mainstream.  In 1792 she published Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which advocated gender equality and better education of women. She believed a better education would enhance their self-respect and self-worth. She also published a novel in which the women enjoyed sex and considered it ridiculous to pretend otherwise.  (She beat Erica Jong by almost 200 years.)

Wollstonecraft’s private life shocked conventional society as much as her political and social views. While living in Paris she met Gilbert Imlay, an American businessman, and agreed to be his common law wife. However, Imlay deserted her after the birth of their daughter, Fanny.

Wollstonecraft returned to London and eventually moved in with William Godwin, another political and social radical. They both despised marriage as tyranny but married when she became pregnant.  Wollstonecraft died soon after at the age of 38 about a month after the birth of their daughter Mary.

Daughter Mary is known to us as Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley was overshadowed in her own life by her parents’ notoriety. It left her feeling like a freak and a social outcast, much like the Creature in her famous novel.  Psychologists might be able to explain it better; for the rest of us, it means that Mary Wollstonecraft was Frankenstein’s mother.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy.

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